Dogs in Review Interviews Ronnie Irving, Chairman of the Kennel Club (U.K.)
The grace, beauty and variety of dogs proudly exhibited stirred public interest. Breeders strove to improve and standardize their favorites, recording the dogs’ genealogies in studbooks to preserve breed purity. Newly evolved dogs like the Sealyham, Boston Terrier and Doberman Pinscher caught the public fancy. Kennel clubs sprang up from Austria to Australia, from Canada to Ceylon.” (The National Geographic Book of Dogs, 1958)
These pieces began to fall into place in the early 20th century in response to worldwide interest in purebred dogs. The fact that it happened at all is a testament to the universal appeal of dogs that crosses every boundary; the fact that these opportunities survived multiple wars and years of unrest is a testament to the unwavering determination of dog lovers.
The founding of the Kennel Club in Great Britain in 1873 provided neighboring countries impetus to create similar organizations. Europe’s first national kennel clubs were founded in Belgium, France and Germany. Despite the pervasive interest in purebred dogs, each one evolved in response to unique factors. For instance, in Germany delegates from a multitude of regional clubs convened in Hannover in 1880 to create a stud book and establish mutually acceptable show rules. This was substantially different from the events leading to the creation of the Kennel Club. The first volume of Germany’s national stud book contained 334 dogs, including a large proportion of British setters and pointers. British breeds were widely admired throughout Europe and consequently dominated early Continental shows. This inevitably encouraged a somewhat patronizing attitude toward breeds that originated elsewhere. “In short, we English must not parade the virtues of our native dogs too fully before the world until we feel assured that under altered circumstances, our tykes would do as well as those we secretly despise, simply because we do not properly appreciate their worth.” (The Illustrated Book of the Dog)
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